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December 8, 2013

Hoyas win in close, underachieving style

December 8, 2013 - Georgetown slogged to a 61-55 win over Colgate at Verizon Center yesterday, upping their record to 6-2 in the process. It wasn't pretty.

First, the Hoyas shot a paltry 29% in the first half, including 0-9 on three pointers. Their defense, and some shots Colgate should have nevertheless made bailed them out, helping produce a mere 21-15 intermission lead.

Coach John Thompson III's team started the second half off well, leading 43-29 with 11:52 to go, fueled by five layups - proof of attacking the rim. Unfortunately, they would be outscored 13-4 over the next seven minutes or so.

Senior guardMarkel Starks then buyoed his struggling team, scoring on an and-one, jumpshot and two free throws, stretching G'Town's lead to eight with 2:46 to play. Colgate halved that deficit with 39 seconds in regulation, but would get no closer. Despite the 'W', Thompson was unhappy, afterward summing "We didn't make the plays to win, when it counts".

"We obviously got off to a cold shooting start" said Colgate head coach Matt Langel of his team's 0-11, while later noting "Just the way our team is built, with the players we have, we've got to be able to make jump shots".

Colgate finished shooting 32%, and a dismal 20.8% from three ball land. That's over half their nation leading 50.1% coming into the game on three pointers.

Though Langel thought the Hoyas "weren't that much better in the first half offensively", he did allow Georgetown "missed some shots they normally make"; this included junior center Joshua Smith blowing "a follow up dunk that he normally makes 95% of the time" and senior point guard Markel Starks nabbing a steal and turning it over.

Overall Thompson was less charitable, saying "Our group has to play a lot smarter, make better decisions if we want to win...we did a very poor job of executing today", though he did agree with Langel in that "We missed some bunnies, that we have to make".

For the game, G'Town shot 37.5%, and an unacceptable 1-15 (6.7%) from three point land. Smith paced the Hoyas with 15 points and added five rebounds. Starks followed at 12 points and five boards, plus five assists. Senior forward Nate Lubick joined them in double figure scoring with 10 points while being credited with seven caroms, a number Thompson thought low. Junior forward Mikael Hopkins cleaned more glass than any Hoya, tallying eight rebounds.

Colgate's senior power forward Murphy Burnatowski led the game in rebounding, accounting for 10, along with his 12 points. Austin Tillotston, a sophomore guard, was the game's leading scorer, as the Raider dropped 21 points, including 11 of his team's 15 first half numbers.

Langel's hope coming in? He wanted to create a game "where the kids have to figure out the speed of the game, the flow of the game, and every possession is going to be hard fought", which he believed his team did. In essence Langel wented to "try and control tempo...make it one of those grind it out games". Despite not prevailing, Colgate's coach summed "I'm proud of our guys for doing that".

Thompson didn't share the same sentiment regarding his group, though he did indicate learning in a loss is better than doing so in defeat. A litmus of his feelings was the fact no student athletes joined him in the press conference as he shared "I don't think they played well enough to earn the right to come talk to you guys".

The Head Hoya also refused to attribute a rather subdued crowd of 7,966, end of semester academic responsibilities or the quick day and a half turnaround between yesterday and Thursday's win over High Point to his squad's performance.

"Once you cross those lines, all that has got to go out the window. For those two hours, they way officials are calling it this year two and a half hours...you've got to be focused in the here and now" he said.

The Hoyas are off until December 17th, when they host Elon, a 7p tip-off. Though G'Town's student athletes are in the throws of semester conclusion testing and paper submission, its men's basketball program will also learn in practice, as "We have a lot to take away from this game".

Colgate (4-3) welcomes Fordham Tuesday the 10th, at 7p.

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